Sunday, April 14, 2013

RHS Miss Kitty's Social Club First Hoe Down! Rose Tree Festival, Tombstone, Arizona

April 5-7, 2013

Miss Kitty's Social Club's First Hoe Down took place at the Rose Tree Festival in Tombstone, Arizona. Women from all over the country including two from Australia came for this event. Along with wearing their fabulous saloon girl garb and/or Victorian ensembles, they enjoyed the Bird Cage Theatre, Boot Hill Grave Yard, gunfighters, museums, shows, tours, vigilantes, Wyatt Earp Theatre, viewing the largest rose tree in the world and shopping.

Friday evening, dressed in saloon girl garb, dinner took place at the Apache Spirit Ranch. A guided tour took us to the girl's rooms (this was a former bordello)  which are now rented out to tourists. They are quite lovely and would be fun just to spend a night in. Dinner was served in a room just off the saloon and the food was delicious. During dinner, the Sheriff showed up with a warrant to frisk a lady named Trudi who was reputed to have a concealed weapon on her person. Trudi immediately threw up her hands saying, "Go ahead, Sheriff. Frisk me!" Afterwards, dancing and cocktails were enjoyed in the saloon where a one-eyed balladeer entertained.

Saturday morning an ample breakfast was provided by our Holiday Inn Express staff. One did have to do some preparation of their meal, but that entailed pouring pancake batter in one side of a machine and having pancakes come out done on the other end. These modern inventions are fantastic! Then we were off to town to explore. The Bird Cage Theatre (said to be the most haunted building in Tombstone) was quite interesting. A charming lady talked non-stop of the history of the Bird Cage including the fact that it was, after all, a bordello where one could be entertained in many ways at once. The original bar is still there as is the grand piano and "Black Mariah" the burial hearse.

The much publicized rose tree is 9000 square feet held up by wooden pillars and wire and the base of the tree is huge. It has tiny white roses blooming in the thousands. Doug bought a cutting from this tree for me and it is now planted in New Mexico. Suffice to say it will be more of a bush here once it gets growing.

There not being a stage coach available immediately, several of us took a tour of Tombstone in an enclosed wagon drawn by two horses. Our driver was quite personable and kept a running monologue on all the sights and history in Tombstone.

This was a gunfight which turned out to be more comedic than anything. The poor gunslingers kept getting up after they were dead, complaining that the Sheriff was taking too long with the script while they were lying in the dirt baking in the hot sun. It's one of those, "You had to be there."

This was parade day and we were taken to the parade in a trolley. This parade is only about three blocks long, but it had well over 200 entries. We somehow failed to remember our entry number and when we did figure out where we were supposed to be, we had to do some fast walking to catch up because this parade started on time (it's the Red Hat way, you know). We were in our prim and proper Victorian garb carrying lovely parasols and were warmly welcomed by the crowd. We did a dance in front of the judges stand and before we knew it, the parade was over and we were off to another adventure.

It was back to the hotel for a costume change for the evening dress which was saloon girl again. The trolley picked us up and we headed to the Longhorn Restaurant for dinner. The food was excellent and the entertainment great fun. Again, the Sheriff showed up with a warrant for the arrest of one, Mary Stopa, who was reputed to having committed solicitation without a license. In Tombstone this is a hanging offense and before you knew it she had a hangman's noose around her neck. There was quite a lot of back and forth between all the people involved including some asking for mercy for her while others were yelling, "Hang her high, Sheriff. She's guilty as sin." I'm still not sure how she got out of it, but I think the Sheriff was smitten with her!

Since it was now dark outside, we took the ghost tour on the trolley with a charming narrator in charge. He pointed out the Bird Cage Theatre (the most haunted building in Tombstone), the Crystal Palace where many a gun fight took place and, of course, we went to Boot Hill Grave Yard. That was the spookiest place to me.

Sunday morning we had to come back to reality, but we again had an ample breakfast in the hotel and had time to say goodbye to everyone. If you ever get the chance to visit Tombstone during the Rose Tree Festival, don't hesitate to go. If you are into vintage clothing, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity. There were many ladies dressed beautifully, gunslingers, miners, etc. It truly is like being on Hollywood movie lot.

Viv and Val, all the way from Australia just arriving at the hotel

Viv and Val all dolled up to greet the rest of us

L to R: Carla greeting Bobbi from Arizona and Rosa from New Mexico
Carla in her cowgirl garb
L to R: Mary Lawson with welcome sign for Viv and Val with Miss Kitty between them at our get acquainted gathering

Two gorgeous saloon girls waiting for the trolley
Some names I know and some not. Viv and Val are the two on the left. Lady on far right decided to go vintage and Trudi is on her right

Isn't this a lovely group of gals ready to paaarrrty!
Here we are at "Miss Kitty's Bordello" on Apache Spirit Ranch
Carla in one of the charming bedrooms in Miss Kitty's Bordello

Well, glory be, if it isn't Miss Kitty herself!
One of Miss Kitty's girls, Carla
Seated: Miss Kitty and all her girls
Rosa from Alamogordo, New Mexico
Practicing our dance for in front of the judge's stand at the parade that will take place on Saturday
The Sheriff almost frisked the wrong saloon girl
Sheriff frisking Trudi. Do you think she's scared?
L to R: Carla, Bobbi and Rosa. Is that possibly a margarita?
Donna, Miss Kitty's right hand and left foot!
Cowboys mixing it up with the saloon girls
Miss Kitty all set to board the trolley Saturday morning
Rosa looking charming with her lovely parasol
Carla standing under the World's Largest Rose Tree
A view of the rose tree from above
This will give you some idea of the size of the base of the rose tree
Just taking in the sights around Tombstone
Miss Kitty with the mule man. Sign on the mule reads "Help Feed My Old Ass"
Carla and Miss Kitty strutting their stuff!
Taking a tour of Tombstone in a fancy wagon
This handsome group played beautiful mariachi music
Miss Kitty with our hired wagon and driver
This is the "Black Mariah" burial hearse in the Bird Cage Theatre
You've seen this poker table in movies. This is the one where the game went on for 4 years, 7 months, 12 hours and 22 minutes or it could have been 8 years, 6 months yada, yada, yada depending on who is telling the story. It cost $1000 dollars to get in the game and people had to wait until someone ran out of money or got shot to get a chair at the table.
This jail is near the gunfight arena and the girls are allowed to visit the incarcerated gentlemen!
This gunslinger is the "warm-up act" and he was really good twirling that pistol
This is the "jail dog" sniffing a shot cup

This is a miner who showed up during the gun fight. He sure was a dusty soul!
I believe this gunslinger was out of bullets in his gun so he resorted to fisticuffs
The Sheriff's gun is loaded for sure!
Shot dead! Maybe yes and maybe no. You'll have to go see for yourself.
Ready for the parade with my white rose in my teeth! Well, it is the Rose Festival Parade!
Our fearless leader, Miss Kitty
Parade forming up and Miss Kitty with our sign
Beautiful in our vintage attire
We made it through the parade in fine style
Rosa, all set for Saturday night in Tombstone
Carla celebrating Red Hat Society 15th anniversary
Rosa and Bobbi wanted to celebrate the 15th anniversary too
Kathy from Orange County, California, a lady who knows how to have fun
Dinner at the Longhorn Restaurant when the Sheriff showed up
They had a hard time finding someone who could read the warrant
Mary Stopa in trouble for not having a solicitation license. It's a hanging offense in Tombstone.

L to R: Val, Miss Kitty and Viv; one last shot of our Aussie Red Hatters of Miss Kitty's Social Club
Very difficult to get photos at night on Boot Hill, but interesting
A rather fitting end to a fabulous weekend filled with fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment and, yes, even fitness because we did a lot of walking.

Thanks to Doug for taking all of the pictures of this great weekend.

This is all I have to say for now.